It’s official — Brisbane just had its wettest May day in 175 years.
The Bureau of Meteorology has confirmed that the Brisbane city gauge recorded 183 millimetres in 24 hours. Not only was last Friday the wettest May day since records began being kept in 1840, it was also the city’s wettest day of any calendar month since 1989.
But the city didn’t cop the worst of it. That was Caboolture, which received 333 millimetres in 24 hours — 277 of those millimetres coming in the space of just three hours on Friday afternoon.
Brisbane Airport (129mm), Archerfield (142mm) and Toowoomba (115mm) recorded their wettest May days since 1996, while Oakey (102mm) had its wettest May day since they started recording in 1971.
Tragically, the rain took a human toll, with five people killed in south-east Queensland after three cars were swept away by floodwaters.
Two cars, travelling separately, were swept into King John Creek at Caboolture. Three people — a 74-year-old man, 39-year-old woman and a five-year-old boy — were killed in one car; the 49-year-old driver of the second car also died. His two children — a 21-year-old woman and a 16-year-old boy — were able to escape.
In a separate incident, a 75-year-old man died when his car was swept off Morayfield Road in Burpengary. His wife was saved by a swift water rescue crew.
“Sadly, it is unfortunate we need to highlight again the dangers of entering floodwaters,” Inspector Lee Jeffries told the ABC.
“I haven’t seen anything as significant or as tragic as this.”
Police Minister Jo-Ann Miller also reiterated the need for Queenslanders to heed warnings.
“Please don’t ignore our messages because you are also risking the lives of our emergency service workers,” she said. “It’s not fair on them either, because they are the ones that have to come out in these extreme weather events to rescue you.”
During the downpour, more than 4,000 Triple Zero calls were made, averaging out to 13 calls a minute. The State Emergency Service received 2,211 calls.
Swift water rescue teams saved 58 people from floodwaters.
Fine and sunny conditions are expected for the rest of the week, with above average temperatures.
If you’re interested in volunteering your time to assist communities affected by incidents like these, you can register your details at Emergency Volunteering, or call Volunteering Queensland on 1800 994 100.
Click through the gallery above for images of Queensland’s Fire and Rescue Services at work.